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Giants offseason blueprint: There is a lot on Joe Schoen’s plate

Let’s begin trying to help the Giants’ GM figure it all out

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Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

How do the New York Giants, a disappointing 6-11 in the 2023 NFL season, get better heading into 2024?

Giants’ GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll probably don’t want our help figuring that out. Because we can, though, and because we’re overflowing with opinions, we are going to offer it, anyway.

Let’s start by simply assessing the capital that the Giants have, and the internal free agent decisions they have to make.

Salary cap space

Their overall cap space, not including what they would need to allot to the rookie class, is $21.847 million, per Over the Cap. OTC lists the Giants with $14.014 million in effective cap space. That is the amount a team will have when it has at least 51 players signed and the projected rookie class.

That place the Giants 17th among the NFL’s 32 teams. How can they create more? Using cuts and contract restructures, of course.

Potential cuts

The obvious ones are guard Mark Glowinski and tight end Darren Waller.

Cutting Glowinski seems like a no-brainer. After a disastrous Week 1 last season, the Giants refused to use the veteran guard unless they had to — even though he played well when forced onto the field. The Giants can save $5.682 million while eating $1.5 million in dead money by cutting Glowinski. I would make that move, and I think it is obvious the Giants will do that.

Cutting Waller is more complicated. He wasn’t the transformative player the Giants hoped he would be, and injuries impacted him for the third straight season. The Giants, though, don’t have an obvious replacement for what the 32-year-old can do when healthy.

The Giants would save $6.707 million with a $7.376 million dead money hit by making Waller a pre-June 1 cut. By designating Waller a post-June 1 cut, the Giants would save $11.625 million with a dead money hit of only $2.458 million.

I’m not cutting Waller from an offense that needs playmakers until or unless I have a replacement on the roster.

Potential restructures

Dan Duggan of The Athletic lists five. I think his list is, umm, on the money. They are:

Quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, linebacker Bobby Okereke and Waller.

I would not touch the Jones or Waller deals. I would not want to push any of their money further down the road. Lawrence, Thomas and Okereke are players I would consider restructuring to get some cap breathing space. I know GM Joe Schoen is not a fan of restructuring and kicking money down the road, but sometimes you have to.

Giants’ free agents

We have spent time in recent weeks reviewing cases for and against keeping the Giants’ various unrestricted free agents. You can see all of those on our Giants’ free agency hub page.

The biggest decisions, of course, will be regarding running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney. Our stories on those two players:

[Barkley | McKinney]

I would offer Barkley a two-year deal between $22 and $25 million with $15 million or so guaranteed, perhaps adding a void year to lessen the cap hit. Maybe I would go to three years, $33 million with the first two years guaranteed. If he won’t sign, I would allow him to test free agency to set his price. With the understanding that I want the opportunity to compete with whatever is out there.

I would like McKinney back, but not at the cost of $15 million or more annually. That is top of the market safety money, and as good as he can be I’m not sure the sum total of McKinney’s four seasons with the Giants justifies that.

Here all all of the Giants’ pending free agents:

Unresticted free agents (UFAs)

DL A’Shawn Robinson
QB Tyrod Taylor
CB Adoree’ Jackson
LB Carter Coughlin
LB Cam Brown
G Shane Lemieux
G Ben Bredeson
OL Tyre Phillips
CB Darnay Holmes
C J.C. Hassenaeur
OL Sean Harlow
WR/PR Gunner Olszewski
OT Matt Peart
PK Randy Bullock
LB Jarrad Davis
WR Sterling Shepard
LS Casey Kreiter
RB Matt Breida
G Justin Pugh
Edge Jihad Ward
S Xavier McKinney
WR Parris Campbell
LB Isaiah Simmons
RB Saquon Barkley
PK Cade York

Restricted free agents (RFAs)

WR Isaiah Hodgins
CB Nick McCloud
G Wyatt Davis
TE Lawrence Cager

Exclusive rights free agents (ERFAs)

Edge Benton Whitley
QB Jacob Eason

Draft capital

Here are the Giants’ 2024 draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 6)
Round 2 (No. 39)
Round 2 (No. 47)
Round 3 (No. 70)
Round 4 (No. 107)
Round 5 (No. 139)
Round 6 (No. 184)

Per Tankathon, the Giants have the fourth-most draft capital of any NFL team using The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective draft value chart.

Joe Schoen’s to-do list

Schoen has a lot on his plate this offseason. We already took a fairly in-depth look at the Barkley situation, so we won’t do that again. If Schoen decides to move on from Barkley, though, rebuilding the running back room will become a priority.

Here are some of the other things Schoen has to do this offseason, though. We will be examining each in some detail in the coming days:

  • Figure out the quarterback situation
  • Address the offensive line
  • Try to find a WR1
  • Add more pass rush to the front seven, and look for a cohort on the defensive line for Dexter Lawrence.
  • Find a starting cornerback opposite Deonte Banks.
  • Address the safety depth if Xavier McKinney leaves in free agency.
  • With Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin heading to free agency, don’t forget special teams.